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Diane Dreher's Tao of Inner Peace Blog

Your Favorite Books

Do you enjoy reading? Research has found that reading is the most widely reported source of flow,[1] and that reading narratives—novels, biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs—can expand our experience, increasing our empathy and understanding.[2] When I was a teenager, I used to read novels in bed at night with a flashlight, traveling far beyond my limited self to other lives and times. Now I also enjoy reading nonfiction books about positive psychology that expand the way I see the world.


I've always been intrigued by biographies and autobiographies. When we read about other lives, we can learn from the trials and triumphs of those who have come before us. For years, I taught a senior seminar on autobiography for my students were graduating into a new chapter of their lives. I wanted them to learn how Eleanor Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Jane Goodall, Nelson Mandela, and others overcame early disappointments and personal challenges, developing their capacity to hope, and lighting the way for the rest of us.  


I recently entered a "three favorite reads of 2023" survey from Shepherd.com. My favorite books and the reasons I chose them are listed here 

And here is the list summarizing favorite books by all the authors who filled out the survey https://shepherd.com/bboy/2023


What were the favorite books you read this year?


[1] McQuillan, J. & Conde, G. (1996). The conditions of flow in reading: Two studies of optimal experience. Reading Psychology: An International Quarterly, 17, 109-135.

[2] Nell, V. (1988). Lost in a Book: The Psychology of Reading for Pleasure. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press; Djikic, M., Oatley, K., & Moldoveanu, M. C.(2013). Reading other minds: Effects of literature on empathy. Scientific Study of Literature, 3(1), 28-47.


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